Early Neolithic funerary diversity and mitochondrial variability of two Iberian sites

Original Paper


An analysis of the burial characteristics of the individuals recovered from two Early Neolithic sites in Navarre (Los Cascajos and Paternanbidea), in the Spanish Basque Country, revealed a complex funerary ritual. The individuals recovered from the Paternanbidea site were distributed in three double graves and a multiple one, while the individuals from Los Cascajos were buried in individual pit-shaped tombs; furthermore, the tombs had a variety of cultural and funerary features. The aim of this study is to evaluate the burial ritual by means of mitochondrial DNA data and the funerary characteristics of 36 individuals recovered from these two sites. The results show that the diversity of these Early Neolithic burial practices from the northern Iberian Peninsula cannot be explained by means of maternal kinship relationships.


Farmer groups Ancient DNA Mitochondrial DNA Funerary diversity Early Neolithic 



This work was partly supported by grants (GCL-2007–65515 and CGL-2011-29057) from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, grant (GIC 10/46 (IT542–10)) from the Basque Government funding for Research Groups in the Basque University System and (UFI 11/09), and from the University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU. We are also grateful to the archaeologists Jesús Sesma and Jesús García-Gazólaz for providing the skeletal remains used in this study and for their expertise on archaeological aspects, as well as to the Government of Navarre for granting permission to use the human remains analysed in this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal PhysiologyUniversity of the Basque Country UPV/EHULeioaSpain
  2. 2.Department of GeneticsUniversity of La LagunaLa LagunaSpain

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